Happy New Year to all and what a way to welcome back the second half of play in the 2015-16 season!
There were holiday tournaments aplenty and several gracious hosts who allowed invited guests to skate off with the coveted championship trophy. Only Plattsburgh held onto the title in their hosted tournament, so there were upsets galore among ranked teams.
Here’s the recap:
WB Mason Winter Classic
The host Plattsburgh Cardinals had no problems in their opening game when they took down Fitchburg State by a 7-0 score with Pat Egan scoring twice in the first period to set the pace in the romp. Their opponent for the final was a pesky Colby squad who defeated Nazareth 6-4 behind EJ Rauseo’s first two goals of the season for the White Mules.
The final was hard-fought with a scoreless first period before the home team saw two goals in the second period from Ryan Chiasson and Egan to give the Cardinals all the cushion they would need. Rich Botting added a power-play goal in the third for the final 3-0 margin and Spencer Finney made 26 saves to earn the shutout.
This is perhaps the “grand-daddy” of holiday tournaments with a legacy going back a couple of decades. Massachusetts-Boston has been the host, but their history has not been strong in winning the tournament, usually running into a hot goalie in the first round or final and history repeated itself this year with Brockport’s Jared Lockhurst making 48 saves and Ryan Kangas providing the offense in the 3-2 upset win over the fifth-ranked Beacons.
Brockport won the Codfish title on Sunday with a 5-1 win over Westfield State. Kangas again led the way for Brockport with another three-point game, giving him three goals and three assists and six points in the two-game tournament.
The host Panthers earned their way to the championship game with a 6-3 win over Canton, while Neumann took down the Pilgrims of New England College behind goalie Tyler LeFebvre’s 33 saves and first win of the season.
The championship game was again the Tyler Levebre Show as he made 47 saves to earn tournament MVP as Neumann held on for a 2-1 win against the host Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Jon Low and Zac Larrazo provided all the offense for the Knights, who were outshot 48-29 in the game.
Babson/Salem State Tournament
The upsets continued in this tournament where Endicott avenged an earlier season loss against Salem State with two goals from Parker Wood in a 3-2 win in the first round. Kevin Aldridge made 29 saves in the win for the Gulls.
Babson knocked off Amherst 4-2 in the other first-round game, setting up the first-ever meeting between Endicott and Babson. The Gulls took the upset over the nationally-ranked Beavers by another 3-2 score with Cam Black scoring two goals, including the game-winner late in the third period on the power play. Aldridge outdueled Jamie Murray, making 41 saves in the title game.
In the consolation game, the Vikings earned some redemption and continuing a rare Amherst winless streak with a come from behind 5-4 win over the Lord Jeffs. Michael Chen scored twice and Derek Makimas had the winning goal for Bill O’Neill’s Salem State squad.
Northfield Savings Bank Tournament
The hosts from Norwich welcomed back William Pelletier to the lineup and he made every effort to make up for lost time playing by producing a six-point night in the Cadets first-round win over Wesleyan by an 8-0 score.
Trinity downed Manhattanville by a score of 4-3, which set up a marquee final on Sunday between the Bantams and Cadets.
The championship game did not disappoint as the defending national champions rallied to tie the game in the third period before winning in overtime on Anthony Sabitsky’s goal. Pelletier added another three points in the losing effort for the Cadets and another returning forward Dean Niezgoda chipped in with his first two goals of the season, the second giving the Cadets a 4-3 lead at the end of the second period. Alex Morin picked up the win in relief of Nathaniel Heilbron for Trinity making 10 saves and shutting out the Cadets for the final 31 plus minutes of play.
William Pelletier, Norwich – the senior forward came back to the Cadet lineup with a bang, scoring three goals and adding five assists for eight points in the two games against Wesleyan and Trinity over the weekend.
Ryan Kangas, Brockport – the forward scored twice and set-up the third in Brockport’s upset win over UMB in the Codfish Bowl and added another goal and two assists in the championship game against Westfield State for a six-point weekend.
Tyler Levebre, Neumann – the junior netminder stopped 80 of 82 shots in the Middlebury Classic in his first two starts of the season earning a pair of wins and the tournament MVP with the Knights 2-1 win over the Panthers.
WEST WRAP – Brian Lester
Augsburg continued its solid play as it defeated Lawrence 6-3 Saturday to pick up its sixth win in its last seven games. Drew Anderson and Mack Ohnsted scored two goals apiece to pave the way for the Auggies, who improved to 7-4 on the season. Augsburg has won its last three games overall. Brandon Boelter scored twice on the power-play to lead the Vikings. Jordyn Kaufer made 31 saves for the Auggies, while Mattias Soderqvist came through with 30 saves for the Vikings. Augsburg now shifts its attention to MIAC play as it will play a series against Bethel this weekend. Lawrence takes on Concordia (Wis.) in an NCHA series this weekend … Adrian nailed down a big win Saturday as it topped Williams 4-1 in a battle of nationally-ranked teams. The two teams squared off in the Pathfinder Bank Classic at Oswego. The Bulldogs are unbeaten in their last 10 games and improved to 9-1 with the win. Cameron Cooper, Mathew Thompson, Adam Davies and Bryan Yim all scored goals for the Bulldogs, who trailed 1-0 after the first period. A total of seven Adrian players scored points in the win. Connor Armour tallied two assists. Kevin Entmaa started in goal and made 25 saves as he improved to 7-0 on the year. Adrian stretched its unbeaten streak to 11 Sunday with a 5-1 win over Oswego State in the championship game of the tournament. Thompson scored a goal in the win and earned MVP honors. Entmaa picked up his eighth win of the season as he tallied 36 saves.